saladdressings

Before I started eating more naturally I remember reading that you were supposed to have 5-7 servings of fruits and vegetables a day.  I could not figure out how on earth anyone could possibly eat that many vegetables in one day.  At that time I was eating cereal for breakfast, some sort of Lean Cuisine for lunch, and something like pasta or macaroni and cheese for dinner.  And there were plenty of unhealthy snacks and treats in there as well.  So, of course I wasn’t getting very many fruits and vegetables.

Not only are vegetables nutrient dense and low in calories, when you eat them you are often replacing more calorie and carb heavy foods.  I now make it my goal to have more than 5 servings of vegetables each day.  One of the ways I have accomplished this goal is by having a salad just about every day for lunch.  That may not be appealing to you. If it’s not, maybe replace one or two lunches a week with a salad or more veggie heavy lunch. For me, having a salad at lunch has allowed me to enjoy some of my favorite dinner foods without guilt or an expanding waist line.  I am able to enjoy heavier meals like pasta, homemade pizza, and enchiladas for dinner because I know I’ve had a healthy lunch full of veggies.

My typical salad has mixed greens and some combination of onion, cucumber, tomato, bell peppers, toasted nuts, avocado, cilantro or another herb, parmesan cheese, meat (some days) and one of my homemade dressings.  The key to a good salad is a great dressing and toppings you love.  It took me quite some time to find a homemade dressing I actually liked.  Some people like olive oil and vinegar or lemon drizzled on their salad.  I find that to be waaaayyyy too bland for me.  I found that I needed garlic and herbs to make a dressing that wasn’t too blah.  Both of my dressings use fresh garlic but you can always substitute garlic powder if fresh garlic is too strong for you.  Garlic is widely known to have many medicinal properties.  Did you know that health food stores sell garlic supplements?   I may be stinky but I don’t get sick very often!

Today I’m sharing my two favorite dressing recipes.  Try them out and add/take away what doesn’t work for you.  I tend to go overboard with garlic and spices so you may want to tweak this to your liking if you prefer more simple tastes.  Once you find some homemade dressings you love you will enjoy your salads so much more!  Just so you know, if I had to rank these I’d say I like the balsamic dressing a smidgen more than the apple cider vinegar.  Though I do think they are both very good.

Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing

dressing

¼ cup balsamic vinegar
1 tsp dijon mustard
2 tsp honey
1 clove of garlic, minced (or 1/8 – 1/4 tsp garlic powder)
1 tsp dried oregano or other herb of your choice
½ tsp salt
1/3 cup olive oil
{update 5/13/15:  I’ve started adding about 1 T lime juice (if I have any on hand) and it’s a great addition.}

pepper to taste (I usually add pepper to my salad rather than the dressing)

1.  Mix first 6 ingredients with a wire whisk.  Slowly add in the olive oil while whisking.  Put a top on your container and shake well.  Homemade dressing works best in some type of jar that has a tight lid, rather than a bowl with lid.
2.  Store container in the fridge.
3.  Pull the dressing out a little while before using to allow it to come to room temperature.  (The olive oil hardens in the fridge.)  Give it a vigorous shake and then spoon out what you need.  I usually pull my dressing out in the morning so I don’t forget.  I put it back in the fridge after lunch.

***I calculated the calorie count for this dressing and it comes out to 75 calories per tablespoon if you add in the lime.  Without the lime it’s 83 calories per tablespoon.

Vinaigrette Dressing with Apple Cider Vinegar

salad

¼ cup apple cider vinegar
2 tsp maple syrup
1 garlic clove, minced (or 1/8-1/4 tsp garlic powder)
½ tsp onion powder
½ tsp dried oregano or another herb of your choice
½ tsp salt
1/3 cup olive oil

Pepper to taste (I usually add pepper to my salad rather than the dressing)

1. Mix first 6 ingredients with a wire whisk. Slowly add in the olive oil while whisking. Put a top on your container and shake well. Homemade dressing works best in some type of jar that has a tight lid, rather than a bowl with lid.
2. Store container in the fridge.
3. Pull the dressing out a little while before using to allow it to come to room temperature. (The olive oil hardens in the fridge.) Give it a vigorous shake and then spoon out what you need.  I usually pull my dressing out in the morning so I don’t forget. I put it back in the fridge after lunch.

salad to go

I love this container for taking salads on the go. This day I was going to the zoo with my four year old.

Do you have a favorite salad dressing?  I’d love to hear what you put in yours.

To get some ideas on how to build a great lunch salad, go here.

14 thoughts on “My Favorite Homemade Salad Dressings

  1. I love homemade salad dressing, but my frustration is that I don’t want to have to make it every time and I’m always very uncertain about how long I can keep it in the fridge– especially with things like fresh garlic in it, etc. So how long do you think it’s good for? In the past I’ve been scared to keep it for more than a day!

    • I keep it about a week and a half and have never had any problems. I already spend enough time making may daily salad. There is no way I could do the dressing too. You could just use garlic powder if the fresh garlic makes you nervous. You could also half the recipe if you don’t think you’d use it all within that time frame. I’ve read that some people leave in on the counter for several days so surely it’s safe in the fridge!!

  2. Yum- can’t wait to try these recipes! Would love a post on how you make your salads. I never know what to put in a salad so that it is tasty and fills me up for lunch.

  3. I have had three salads this week for lunch. That is HUGE for me. I decided to make a long list of various toppings I could use and just stock up on several of them at the store so that I could throw together whatever sounded good that day. I can’t wait to see your favorite salad combos. Also, do you toast your nuts yourself or do you buy toasted nuts at the store?

    • Yay for you!! I toast my nuts myself. I just buy raw nuts and then toast them in the oven on broil for 3-6 minutes, or until they just start to brown. They are more crunchy when toasted. I don’t buy the already roasted nuts because they are usually roasted in oil. I’ll get that salad post up next week! And you’ll have to share your topping ideas too. I am always looking for new inspiration.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *